The Czech influence on the Polish cuisine -Bohemian dumplings

Poles know the Czech literature, film and history, they often go to the Czech Republic and they are especially fond of delicacies of the Czech cuisine.

The Poles and the Czechs have almost always lived in harmony and the history of both nations are similar. The Poles were baptized by the Czechs. Czech bishop Wojciech  became the first Polish saint. The wife of the first Polish ruler was  Czech. In later centuries the Czech rulers  came from the Polish royal dynasty.

                                                                      Jan Matejko - Christianization of Poland

Polish and  Czech cuisine have become similar to each other in many places  through the centuries of mutual contacts. Seldom in Poland can you  find dishes with the adjective “Czech”.  Czech and Polish cuisine is quite similar. First of all, in both countries  the following dish is very popular:   pork or beef served as simple stew with onions and peppers, cooked over low heat . In addition,  this dish is fried with cabbage and bacon. In the Czech Republic it is also popular to eat potato pancakes which the Czechs, like the Poles, sprinkle with sugar and pour cream on.
The typical Czech dish “Knedliki”( Bohemian Dumplings) is very well known in Poland and it is the only  dish which is a synonym for Czech in Poland.
Bohemian dumplings are cooked by steaming or boiling yeast dough in water. It can be stuffed with meat or fruit, or they might be an addition to  pork stew. Of course, there are several types of  bohemian dumplings . The simplest, called the ordinary, are prepared from the pulp of wheat flour buns with krupczatki, water and yeast. Roll dumplings are different from the usual addition of toast with butter. Potato dumplings are prepared in a similar way as the Polish dumplings. Bohemian dumplings are served  sweet with fruit and thick cream based sauces. They can be filled with strawberries, plums, or peaches.   They are often served for dessert.

The Gniezno Doors -St. Wojciech lands in Gdansk by ship.

At the end there remains nothing else but to give the recipe for Bohemian dumplings.

Bread dumplings with Czech goulash

  0,5 kg pork or  beef, cubed
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1/4 teaspoon hot paprika (optional)
    1 teaspoon caraway seed
    1 teaspoon marjoram
    salt and pepper, to taste
    2 1/2 cups water
    1 potato  and 1 teaspoon oil


    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 cup milk
    1 cup flour
    1/8 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    4 -5 slices white bread, use stale bread, cut into small cubes (trim hard crust off) 

Sauté onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
 Add meat with spices and sauté till brown.
 Add water; simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about 1 hour.
 Add finely grated potato into the meat and simmer 5 minutes stirring often.
 Serve with dumplings or bread.

Mix together beaten egg, milk, flour, baking powder and salt until smooth.
Add bread cubes to batter and mix well.
Make two small loaves. Drop into large pot of vigorously boiling water. Cook 10 minutes, then roll dumpling over and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove immediately from water and cut ends off to release steam.
Cut into 1 cm slices and serve with 



The Jews influence on the Polish cuisine - Szlajmzupe

The Jews were settled in Poland during the reign of Boleslaw Chrobry  Casimir III the Great was favourably disposed towards the Jews. On 9 October 1334, he confirmed the privileges granted to Jewish Poles in 1264 by Bolesław V the Chaste. Under penalty of death, he prohibited the kidnapping of Jewish children for the purpose of enforced Christian baptism. He imposed heavy punishment for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. King Casimir allowed them to settle in Poland in great numbers and protected them as people of the king.
                                                                                          Wojciech Gerson - Jewish and King Kasimir

In 1492 Spain and a few years later Portugal and other countries drove the Jews out of their territories. Some of them moved to Poland. The Jews became an important part of  Polish  economy and culture.

Many of the dishes and many methods of processing and storage of food in Polish cuisine are owed to the Jews. Sweet juice, cooking fish and veal, cholent and other dishes prepared by the Jews during the Sabbath have survived in Polish homes to this day.

                                                                                       Aleksander Gierymski -Jewess with Lemons

In Jewish cuisine   kosher food as a form of respect for biblical health rules, officially scorned by Poles, is used. However, these rules played a significant role in the slaughter and cutting up the animals in Poland. Indeed, Poles pay special attention to the Jewish model of slaughter where  the purity of place and sharpness of the tools which are use to slaughter are important. Of course, nobody dissuaded Poles from eating  pork, but Polish cuisine has adopted a number of recipes, ingredients and spices used in Jewish cuisine.

My favourite dishes coming from Jewish cuisine are Jewish carp, Cholent, Szlajmzupe, Holiszki, Challah,

Below there is a recipe for Szlajmzupe which is often served by my grandfather.

150 gram the offal of geese (wings, legs, stomach)
150 grams of mixed vegetables (no cabbage)
150 grams barley groats (Pearl)
2 dried mushrooms (porcini)
Salt, pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 cup of cooked beans

Cleaned and washed offal put into boiling water (4 cups).  Boil and afterwards peel meat from the bone, cut meat and stomach into small pieces and put into the broth. Rinse barley, pour in the broth and cook slowly. Grate purified vegetable large mesh, pour three cups of water, add  soaked and cleaned mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the broth with vegetables to the broth with barley, season to taste with salt and pepper, bring to boil. Serve with cooked beans, which were cooked separately with chopped parsley.


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